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A Response to Arguments of Diversity in Comics

**This was in response to yesterday’s general conversation regarding diversity in comics for the sake of diversity as well as the blog post. This is in its original form. Thank you Peter for your thoughts on this subject. –Aitch**

by  Peter A. Elizaga

I have nothing against diversity. I think content creators should go to great lengths for the sake of diversity. I’m sensitive to the fact that fictional characters live and breath in our individual imaginations, and having a person drastically change in one way or another can be rather disconcerting. Despite that, at least New 52 Wally West is a reboot. There were clear mechanisms in place for him to be a completely different person, aside from just his ethnicity.

The intentions behind it, I hope, were good. I like to think that people who professionally write stories about heroes that were specifically designed to inspire us to be more compassionate towards both victims and heroes struggling with doing the right thing aren’t so jaded as to make changes, such as this, purely for the sake of pandering and making money. (My apologies for that horrendously written sentence.) Whether or not it was a misguided attempt, I’m not sure. I haven’t actually read it. I’m a Marvel guy. Batman can suck it.

I think, if they were to do it a properly, changing an existing character’s ethnicity would give someone in the boiling hot spotlight a somewhat fresh background that writers and readers can flesh out in their heads, and be a reminder that heroism (or villainy, depending on who they change), can come from all kinds of people. And, hopefully, it will create a culture in which “your black friend” will instead be called to your mind first as “your friend that rescues kittens from highways”.

Now, if say, a Marvel reboot were to happen, and Steve Rogers gets defrosted again and gets disappointed that his 80-year old boyfriend from the past will not be getting his dying wish for them to marry in their home state of Georgia (and therefore creating more of a contrast of past and present for Cap to deal with)~ if say, Shovel Knight were to release DLC which would allow the pronoun change for the already androgynous Shield Knight (and therefore creating a climactic battle in which I get to play out the love of two men which triumphs over evil), if say, Destruction of the Endless, through the mysterious power of change, actually switched sexual orientation teams, and figured that, “Hey, maybe one of the reasons I left my domain is so that humanity can have the honor of figuring out this gay marriage thing on their own”~ if any of those things were to happen, I would personally be REALLY FUCKING THRILLED. As in REALLY. FUCK-ING. THRILLED.

In my eyes, if 4 other people will be remotely thrilled as I would be, I think it would be reasonable to temporarily piss off 5000 white or otherwise comfortable consumers who are so terribly worried about having to adjust the mental tone in which these characters speak (if they feel like they have to, in order to believe that’s a gay character they’re reading.) I would personally speak to my share of the 1000 folks who are willing to interface, to help them warm up to the idea. At the risk of dividing the already divided community on here, I’d like to mention that I’d probably be constantly asking them to fucking eat me at the back of my mind.

Maybe, it’ll inspire some potential content creators of varying backgrounds to make more NEW characters of varying backgrounds. Maybe gay marriage will push through in more countries, who knows. Maybe I don’t have to go through another dungeon in Guild Wars 2 where I save everyone’s asses (I have the presence of mind to pack some extra tanking armor on pure berserker runs because I don’t realistically imagine that I can always get a perfectly coordinated dungeon run with strangers) and then immediately get called a SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIOR FAGGET <sic> when I mention that I made a Sylvari Guardian, because I thought it was pretty nifty that a wise yet newborn culture just thought same-sex relationships were natural.

On that note, please, stop using the expression “social justice warrior”. It undermines actual worthwhile struggles that are being dealt with by society, and represented by only some, rather uninformed, asshats. I’m usually not very rigid in my beliefs, but if you’re going to just refute that the language we use and hear everyday does not affect how we think, then you can eat shit. (Only if you believe that last bit. If you only just use that expression “social justice warrior”, I’m just asking politely to please stop.)

As for the free market argument, the idea that you should just not buy what you don’t like, please reconsider your stance. These things aren’t just sold to us. They are MARKETED to us. Marketed to us by people who may or may not be suited for controlling culture on the scale that they CAN, while standing on ideals older than your racist grandfather. Don’t avert your eyes. Involve yourself, if you truly love the medium.

Sorry. I actually just came from that fucked up dungeon run, so this is a bit of a hot topic for me at the moment and I’m craving attention for the heavy rant that I took the time to spit out. I’m also a little hyped up because I’m listening to fantastic soundtrack of Shovel Knight. It’s reminding me that I, as a paying customer, have every right to steel my shovel and save my boyfriend from the forces of evil. It took a lot of teaching myself that I could be a hero in that way too. I didn’t have that many role models on that front.

About Armand (1271 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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